Virtual Production

Real-time computer graphic technologies are now a viable option on live film sets, and Virtual Production is becoming an increasingly important part of the VFX pipeline.

Virtual Production at DNEG

Artificial backdrops have been used in movie-making since its very beginnings to create the illusion of large sets or locations. In recent years, DNEG has used digital front projection and large LED video walls displaying pre-rendered content to take this technique into the 21st Century, in its Oscar-winning work on films such as Christopher Nolan’s ‘Interstellar’ and Damien Chazelle’s ‘First Man’.

Today’s Virtual Production processes leverage advances in computing power, VFX expertise and game-engine technology to:

  • create environments that now interact with the live-action, allowing filmmakers to make real-time decisions and changes
  • create backgrounds which move in full perspective with respect to the camera’s position, updating in real-time as the camera moves
  • allow the production to move from one convincingly detailed and photo-real environment to another without leaving the stage
  • allow final shots to be captured in camera, without the need to replace the backgrounds in post-production

In effect, locations from all over the world can be brought to the stage with compelling photo-realism.

Our approach is to utilise cutting-edge technology in pursuit of our clients’ storytelling goals, and our tools are designed to feel familiar to the directors and DOPs that we collaborate with.

 

Our Virtual Production offer covers the full range of services, including:

Virtual location scouting – capture, create and explore virtual locations for use in the Virtual Production process

Virtual camera – blocking and framing decisions can be explored in virtual locations using VR headsets and virtual cameras

Real-time mixed reality VFX – allowing in-camera set extensions and live compositing of animated and motion capture controlled characters into virtual locations

LED volumetric stages – fully immerse actors in virtual sets with real-time in-camera VFX and environments created with state-of-the-art LED volumetric stages

We have been working at the cutting-edge of technology and artistry for over 20 years, with five Academy Awards for ‘Best VFX’ in the last 10 years. Our work providing Virtual Production services for projects such as Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming ‘DUNE’, Kenneth Branagh’s ‘DEATH ON THE NILE’ and Andy Serkis’ ‘VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE’ has positioned us at the forefront of this new technology, which is helping content creators to restart physical production in a responsible and socially-distanced way.

All of DNEG’s Virtual Production services complement and integrate with our other services, and are designed to fit within our clients’ workflows and processes.

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DNEG has partnered with multi-award-winning XR entertainment studio Dimension to form a virtual production partnership that aligns Dimension’s revolutionary volumetric and real-time development capabilities with DNEG’s bespoke in-house Virtual Production technologies, real-time workflows and global strengths in creative direction, supervision and visual effects.

Dimension and DNEG are working together on a number of high-profile virtual production projects, including a groundbreaking new short film – ‘Fireworks’ – directed by double Academy Award winner and DNEG Creative Director Paul Franklin, produced by BAFTA Award winner Annalise Davis for Wilder Films, and written by acclaimed screenwriter and playwright Steven Lally. The film is also supported by Epic Games, Lipsync Post Production and StoryFutures Academy.

 


© Wilder Films, photographer Tom Oxley

DNEG also teamed up with Dimension, and with Unreal Engine, ARRI, Mo-Sys, 80six, ROE, Brompton Technologies and Malcolm Ryan, to shoot a proof-of-concept Virtual Production test.

Directed once again by DNEG Creative Director Paul Franklin, the test demonstrates how our clients can take advantage of our Virtual Production services to enjoy the best of both worlds – the flexibility of a visual effects process and the immediate realism of actual photography.

Find out more about the test here, and watch a behind the scenes video from the test shoot, as well as some of the final test footage below.

Go behind the scenes of the LED volume Virtual Production Test

Gunslinger: LED volume Virtual Production Test

For more information on DNEG Creative services, please contact:

Marianne Speight (London): mksp@dneg.com

Lee Berger (Los Angeles): lee@dneg.com

Paul Becker (Vancouver / Los Angeles): pfbe@dneg.com

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